It usually takes a fair amount of “hindsight” to see blessings in the midst of challenges. I was talking to an older mom recently whose kids are mostly grown up and moved away. She shared how different life and her involvement in ministry was back when her kids were little. Her husband was a pastor and so much of her wanted to be on the front lines of what he was doing. There were times she felt left out and exhausted, wondering if God was finished with her, or if one day she’d walk out some of her dreams again.
Over the years she learned to live with a contentment of her duties, realizing how quickly her children were growing. Her greatest delight now is getting to talk to her kids on the phone and hear about all that God is doing in their lives. She also gets to serve alongside her husband. She’s a great encouragement to young moms, and to me!
Over the years God spoke many things to her that she is now able to impart into others. I was reading in 2 Corinthians 1 today and was encouraged by Paul’s words.
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:3b-4
In the same way that hindsight can show us lessons we learned in the trials, foresight needs to be applied to fully learn all that we can from a trying situation.
When we know that God is speaking encouragement and hope to us, we need to take note of it so that we can provide that same comfort to someone who will be struggling with a similar problem one day.
Some of the greatest heartaches in my life have brought me the greatest joy as I’ve seen someone comforted, encouraged and freed from something similar. It seems to make all of the pain worth it when someone else can benefit.
An example close to my heart is the terrifying car accident I was once in. It was a miraculous escape, and I have thanked God for my life many times since then. After that event, I have met many people who have had near death experiences, some of whom were locked in fear, instead of released into the joy of a second chance at life. Having the opportunity to share the positives with these people, and pray for them, makes my own car accident worth it every time.
I don’t always understand why we face the troubles that we do, but I cling to the words found further in 2 Corinthians that bring hope to what we’re dealing with.
We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.
2 Corinthians 1:8b-10
Lord, may our daily challenges and deepest heartaches cause us to rely on you fully. May we one day see others released from their chains because of the comfort that you extended to us. You are a gracious father, who comes to our rescue again and again.